Our Beekeeping Practices
Here at Honey Grove, we keep bees because we love bees, and because we love what bees do for our gardens and our planet. We are also terribly concerned about the current decline of the honeybee. We want to do our part to keep bees healthy and thriving, for the benefit of bees, humanity and this good earth.
We are dedicated to providing our bees with the highest quality care. We use organic methods whenever possible and are devoted to the most holistic practices. As a small apiary we are able to concentrate our attentions on the needs of each individual hive. Once established, a hive stays in its designated garden and unlike commercial beekeepers we do not ship our bees out to pollinate mono-crops. Thousands of flowers are grown on Honey Grove throughout the year with the sole intention of creating abundant and varied forge for the bees. The aim is to create a landscape that can fully sustain its bee population. At the end of the honey harvest we leave our bees with as much honey as they will possibly need, this helps to avoid the supplemental feeding of sugar syrup. The best food for bees is, after all, honey.
We are also proud to say that we do not use antibiotics for disease prevention. It is now thought that colony collapse could very well be a result of many things, including the combination of mono-crop diets, pesticides, poor nutrition and poor disease management. Our approach to honeybee health is Integrated Pest Management, meaning we do a number of non-invasive practices throughout the beekeeping year to reduce the stress levels in the hive and to keep mite counts down.
As many people are aware, honeybees worldwide are in trouble. The current decline of the honeybee population indicates that there is a great imbalance in the natural world. Ninety percent of plant life on earth requires pollination by insects to grow, fruit and reproduce. Honeybees play a vital and enormous role in pollination. “One of every three mouthfuls we eat, and of the beverages we drink, are delivered to us by pollinators, almost all of which are insects” (Dr. Edward O Wilson, Harvard University).
Flowering plants require insects for pollination. The most effective is the honeybee, which pollinates 90 percent of commercial crops worldwide. As well as most fruits and vegetables – including apples, oranges, strawberries, onions and carrots – they pollinate nuts, sunflowers and oil-seed rape. Coffee, soy beans, clovers – like alfalfa, which is used for cattle feed – and even cotton are all dependent on honeybee pollination to increase yields.
Hive tours and educational talks are available upon request.
A beeyard tour is a wonderful way to learn about honeybees. Providing it is a warm sunny day, you will get to observe the bees in their natural surroundings gathering nectar from the garden flowers. During this time Nao will talk about the honeybee lifecycle, the mysterious inner workings of the beehive, and the environmental challenges that our bees are facing today. Beeyard tours are approximately 45 minutes long. The cost is $15 per person (Minimum of 2 people/ Maximum 6). Apiary tours are weather dependent.
If you are a guest at Honey Grove Cottage, or a local member of the community, you may join Nao for a mediation practice in the beeyard. Meditations are commonly held one Monday a month at 7:00 pm for 30 minutes ( May-Oct). Please contact Nao, if you wish to join her. Sitting in the company of honeybees is a magical and blessed experience. The intention of this practice is to cultivate a sense of love and appreciation for bees, pollinators and mother earth. The Hive Meditation is by donation and all proceeds will go The College of the Melissae, Center for Sacred Beekeeping.
“A bee takes her nourishment from the parts of a plant that are steeped in love. In this way, the bee brings the love from the flowers into the beehive…”~ Rudolph Steiner
When we taste honey, we taste the essence of the landscape from which it came. The sweetness,colour and texture will vary depending on which blossoms the bees visited and the nectar collected. Honey flavours are as varied as wine. Each honey has it’s own unique character. Some honeys are subtle, others are robust, some can be described as a clear single note, and others are a symphony of flavor. When you join Nao for a honey tasting you will explore the landscape of Honey Grove through taste. You will also have an opportunity to taste honeys from other parts of the world for comparison. The Cost is $10 per person. ( Minium of 2, Maximum 10). Please contact Nao to arrange date and time.
Flower Essence and Herbal Honeys
Nao’s medicinal Flower Essence and Herbal Honeys are made with Honey Grove Honey which has been steeped in organic flower petals and herbs grown on Honey Grove. These honeys have been infused with plant and flower essences carefully chosen for their individual healing properties. Like a flower essence, the Flower Essence Honeys are taken to restore balance to body and mind. The essence honeys are charged with specific stones and crystals as well as placed under sun and moon for several moon cycles. Flower Essence and Herbal Honeys are for sale at the Honey Grove Farm Shop. If you wish to learn more about the art of flower essence making, or to have a Flower Essence Honey consultation, please contact Nao.